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A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures Paperback – September 11, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (September 11, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825236
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having spent 25 years as Executive Editor of the Washington Post, Bradlee's memoir looks at such memorable incidents as Watergate and the Pentagon Papers.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ben Bradlee was Executive Editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991 after being managing editor for three years. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and their son, Quinn. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Very terse and interesting.
Bill Staley
As a reporter and newspaper editor Ben Bradlee was able to experience important historical events as they were in the making.
Perhaps the best of this book is Ben Bradlee's willingness to let the reader get to know him, faults and all.
Nan Healy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Easily the country's best known newspaper editor (thanks to Watergate, the movie: "All The President's Men"), Ben Bradlee retired in 1991 at age 70, having fulfilled his life's ambition - the transformation of The Washington Post from something of a mess to a paper of stature and influence to rival The New York Times.
In this memoir, Bradlee emerges unapologetically as a cheerful white male born into the power elite, not particularly reflective but aware of his abilities, particularly his aptitude for recognizing talent in others and his willingness to make decisions. Work and ambition were central to his life, even costing him two marriages - although neither marriage ended until the next wife was waiting in the wings.
Bradlee is a reporter rather than a storyteller and the first third of his memoir is guaranteed to irritate those for whom Harvard was not a given and who can't conceive of "scrounging" up $10,000 (in 1946!) to invest in a start-up for a first job in newspapering, in Manchester, N.H.
Given his family and contacts and, yes, hard work, Bradlee's jobs were all interesting but the meat and excitement of the book begin with his friendship with John F. Kennedy. The Bradlees and the Kennedys became Washington neighbors while Kennedy was a senator, Bradlee was beginning to break "out of the herd" at Newsweek magazine and Jackie and Tony Bradlee were pregnant.
As the "foursome" spent many social hours together, the line between friendship, politics, and the big scoop, blurred. Bradlee relates a number of amusing anecdotes, best among them an exclusive on the swap of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, "sourced from the President of the United States, [dictated] from a telephone just off a White House dance floor.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1997
Format: Audio Cassette
A friend asked me why I would want to read a book about a retired editor of a newspaper concerned mainly about politics and government in a city far, far away. Shows what she knows. Ben Bradlee's book is not really about newspapering in Washington, but rather about living through the 60s, 70s and 80s. Yes, there is journalism throughout ­ how could there not be. But Bradlee writes history and he uses the journalism as a tool to tell stories, which is what journalists do best. Read about the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Kennedy. It seems that all the events that shape our recent memory are covered first-hand in this book. Bradlee doesn't shy from the glare of the spotlight either. He tells his own history, blemishes and all, with the direct voice that politicians came to expect from the editor of the Washington Post. It's a fascinating read
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By HeyJudy VINE VOICE on January 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
The first thing that makes A GOOD LIFE a wonderful read is that it has been written by a wonderful writer. Luxuriating in his text, it is easy to understand how author Ben Bradlee achieved the professional successes that he had. He is most famous, of course, for having edited the WASHINGTON POST during the Watergate era. The exploits of his reporters Bernstein and Woodward have been well-chronicled in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.
The next thing that makes A GOOD LIFE a wonderful read is that Bradlee not only has led the good life--his own definition--he's also led a fascinating one. By some quirk of fate, he was witness to many of the more exciting events in the second half of the 20th century, and he reports on these events in a way that will rivet his fans.
His description of his World War II naval career is as good as any other war memoir that I have read, and I have read quite a few.
Bradlee was lucky to lead his "good life." And reading about it makes for a fascinating experience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ben Bradlee and wife Tony lived on the same side of the same Washington, D.C. block as Senator John Kennedy, which is how they became friends with him and Jackie. After JFK's election to the Presidency, their friendship continued. He invited the Bradlees to Camp David, the family compound at Hyannis and for private dinners. At one glamorous White House function, Kennedy sat between Tony Bradlee and her sister Mary, who was also his friend. How close the two were was revealed much later.

Some time after Kennedy's death, Mary was walking along a D.C. canal when she was grabbed from behind. Her assailant stuck a gun under her chin and pulled the trigger; she died instantly. Shortly after the funeral, Mary's best friend phoned Tony Bradlee, inquiring after Mary's personal diary, which she said had been promised to her. When the Bradlees went to Mary's home to locate the book, they encountered inside it the friend's husband, a CIA operative known as "The Locksmith." He said his wife had sent him to retrieve the diary.

When they eventually found it, Ben and Tony were appalled to discover details in the diary of sister Mary's affair with JFK, one that lasted from early 1962 until his Nov. '63 death. They innocently handed the book over to their CIA friend, who promised to destroy it, and never at the time considered the implications of the two violent deaths and an interested CIA.

This is just one of many remarkable stories in Ben Bradlee's A GOOD LIFE.
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